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Opinion

Privilege check

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez - The Freeman

Remember “McDo Kid” Daniel Cabrera? He was that third grader who was seen studying under a streetlight. A customer in the fast food chain took a photo of the boy and his post went viral. Immediately a lot of people came to help the kid who had high hopes of being a policeman. It was one of the stories run by several media outlets that gave hope to underprivileged children who dreamt big.

Recently I went to Daniel’s house to check up on him and say my well wishes as my colleagues and I will embark on another journey apart from the media industry. To my surprise, he was one of the thousands of children who does not have a gadget yet for the new school year. Although his public school said that the mode of learning will be modular, he still needs a cellphone to contact his teachers and be in the loop.

Daniel is not the only kid who is struggling to attain the new normal in learning. In an in-house survey, done by the University of the Philippines Cebu to their students, more than 30% do not have the means to join blended learning. Others do not have gadgets to write their papers in the event that readings will only be sent to them. What is worse is the lack of internet signal in some areas where students reside. I am seeing two sides of the coin – the interest of students to learn despite challenges but also that only those who are privileged get more out of this new mode in education.

But the move to suspend the school year is also not an option, especially that it has been about five months that no learning has taken place. I see here that the best solution is for the government and the educational institutions to support the students by giving them the gadgets they need and internet subsidy. Or maybe, we must have face to face classes, provided that all safety protocols are followed and regular testing is being made to the students and educators.

It is quite a challenge on how to move forward with our lives despite this pandemic and the lack of a vaccine. But what’s certain is that COVID-19 is a treatable disease when at its early stages. However, as the days go by there are still other areas that we are uncertain of which makes it harder to move forward.

In four months we will close 2020 – one of the worst years in my life. My privileges have always been in check that I am wary of the limitations of others as we move into the new normal. Education is only one sector that needs thorough studying and consideration while dealing with an invisible virus. We need more time to make sure that everyone gets the knowledge that they deserve.

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